A Colonial Dinner

[slickr-flickr tag=”osv-dinner-2016″]

Saturday I took part in a Colonial Dinner at the Parsonage in Old Sturbridge Village. It was an amazing evening. Four interpreters and 14 of us prepared and ate a meal over the course of 4 hours.

Cooking was entirely at the hearth and using the brick oven. Everything was by candlelight using period utensils, cooking vessels, and recipes. No measuring cups or flashlights. The chicken was hand turned in a tin oven facing the fire, soup was cooked in a kettle over the fire. Other dishes were cooked in covered kettles on trivets over burning coals on the hearth. Everything was prepared with knives and wooden spoons made in the village. The tinware and redware were also made in the village. The pies and biscuits were baked in the oven heated by a wood fire that was then shoveled out with the coals added to the fireplace. We even washed and rinsed the cookware in tin basins. Everything was made from scratch..

The menu was:

potted cheese
mulled cider
squash soup with toasted bread garnish
parsnips in milk
roast chickens on a spit
stuffing with onion
carrots cooked under the chickens
beef collops with apple and onion
red cabbage with port
cranberry sauce
apple pie with cheddar cheese
floating island
hot chocolate

Food at Williamsburg

Today was a walking day. I started at the Governor’s Palace as soon as it opened and spent the majority of my time in the kitchen talking to the cooks. Go figure…

Here’s the dessert course – candied ginger, syllabub, and pistachio cream. Ice cream was also very popular among the gentry, but not necessarily as a sweet. Oyster ice cream, anyone?

Then there are a marvelous outdoor demonstration of how to make chocolate from the cocoa beans.

Here are the roasted, chopped beans.

The beans are then ground repeatedly on a heated metal slab.

Finally the ground beans are reduced to a lovely paste.

Here’s another sign of spring.

Today was unseasonably cool and overcast, the temperature was in the mid 60s for much of the day (snicker). It was wonderful walking weather, though my feet are definitely sore tonight. I think tomorrow will be a driving day with a walking break mid-day, I may try to get to Monticello early in the day.

Other events today – a reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Williamsburg Capitol, a long chat with the apothecary, and dinner at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern.